Sunday, September 11, 2011

RMT #2: Standard OU Team; “In the Desert”

In the Desert

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."
-Stephen Crane

Here is my second Rate My Team for this site. I must say, I am a lot more experienced with the 5th generation metagame than I was way back when I posted the first one, and for that reason I think this is a much more solid team. However, that is not to say that it is in any way perfect; I am still aware that there are some necessary improvements to be made, and I think there are still a lot of exploitable flaws present. But that is why I am posting this here, so that you can all help me make this team better, and can hopefully learn from my team building process and the Pokemon sets I use. This is an OU team, a very standard one at that, and I think it’s safe to say that OU is currently my favorite of all the tiers. I’ve tried a fair bit of RU, and even a little UU, but nothing really requires as much quick thinking and strategy as I feel OU does. But that’s just latent opinion that will probably change in a month or two.
As you will also notice, this is a very standard Sand team. Now, before you think to yourself, “Oh great, just another one of those. How boring and uncreative”, I’d like you to consider that the current OU metagame, rampant as it is with Weather teams of all forms and types, has come to need this abundance for its own stability. In other words, because there is one particular type of Weather, it is necessary to have another in order to efficiently counter it. This means that threats like Excadrill, Venusaur and Thundurus won’t entirely demolish the entire metagame in their respective Weather as long as there is another Weather type able to counter it. That is not to say, however, that Weather is the only thing capable of countering other Weather, but it is one of the few. Of course, this then makes it a cut-throat game of Last Weather Standing, but that just makes it all the more fun in my opinion.

So let’s get to the team.

Po @ Leftovers
252 HP/4 Def/252 Sp.Def, Careful
-Stealth Rock
-Ice Fang

The foundation of this team was Hippowdon, as I knew Tyranitar is the most used Sand summoner (the most used Weather summoner in general), and wanted to experiment with a team of two auto-Sand abusers. I figured this would give me a nice advantage in keeping Sand on the field, since it is the only auto-weather with two fully evolved Pokemon able to instigate it. This means that most other weather teams would only have one means of getting up their Sun, Rain or Hail, and once I dispose of that Mon, as long as Hippo or T-Tar are still alive, I can win the Weather war. So now came time to think of a set. I knew Hippo has amazing bulk overall, but I had never once seen a max Sp.Def variant used. I wanted to try one out, and the results were wonderful. I could take hits from Choice Specs Latios and set up my Rocks indefinitely. I was also able to dapple with other common leads such as bulky or Scarfed Rotom-W, and all other Weather summoners bar Specs Politoed. This was excellent, since Hippowdon’s main use on this team is to set up Sand, lay down Stealth Rock, then die. In that sense it is more of a suicide lead, since I have Tar to ensure I get up Sand in the end.

The moveset is as odd as the EV spread, in that it plays a little bit like an offensive variant. EQ is for obvious STAB, and is useful in taking down some notable threats, while Superpower adds decent coverage and power. Ice Fang is for the likes of Latios and Gliscor, so that I can threaten them much more effectively, and since they usually don’t expect it. I used to run Slack Off in its place, but found that the recovery wasn’t as necessary as the coverage, since this plays out more like a suicide lead anyway.

Even out of dreams, the Sandman will find you.

Sandman @ Leftovers
252 HP/128 Sp.Atk/128 Sp.Def, Quiet
-Ice Beam

Hippowdon’s Partner in crime, Tyranitar, is my secondary means of setting up Sandstorm, and my primary means of taking most Special hits from less powerful threats. The set and spread may seem unorthodox like Hippo’s set, but I’ve found Tar can take hits pretty nicely and dish out a reasonably powerful, well-covered move in the process. The reason I chose Quiet and some Special Attack investment was because I wanted it to deal as much damage as possible while still being able to absorb some attacks. Thunderbolt is here for coverage, and to hit certain unsuspecting Pokemon like Politoed or Gyarados, and the rest of the set is pretty standard.

n the Sand, T-tar hits a monstrous 402 Special Defense which, coupled with a naturally high 404 HP and decent 256 Defense, allows it to take hits reasonably well. I’m also not too concerned about the lack of physical Defense, as I have something to take care of that. Tyranitar is great on this team, not only for Sand Stream, but because it can rid me of annoyingly efficient threats like Ferrothorn, Forretress, Starmie, Latios and Latias, to name a few.

He may look slow, but what goes on in that mind, you may never want to figure out.

Savant @ Leftovers
252 HP/252 Def/4 Sp.Def, Bold
-Slack Off
-Fire Blast

One of the best Physical Walls in the game at the moment, I chose Slowbro for its natural ability to take powerful hits, usable Tanking potential, and uniquely excellent ability Regenerator that further increases its longevity, and thereby shortens my concern with Physical threats like Excadrill, Conkeldurr or Dragonite, all of which would otherwise threaten my team. The EVs here are standard, unlike a few other sets on this team, and I’m proud with the outcome. Slowbro is growing as one of my favorite Pokemon of 5th generation, and for good reason.

The moveset is reasonably standard as well. Scald, with its high Burn rate, only increases Slowbro’s wondrous walling capabilities, Fire Blast is for Skarm, Ferro and Forre (though all of these don’t like the Burn rate of Scald either) and Toxic and Slack Off are for bulkier threats and to Stall out other things, respectively and together. While Toxic seems nice, though, I find myself rarely ever needing to use it, and wonder whether there is another move I can replace it with that I might have generally overseen. It is necessary, though, in taking down the occasional Gastrodon if one of my sweepers is unable to. Overall, Slowbro is a hugely key member of this team, for it deals with certain Monsters and team types that no other member could.

“Why do I act like I made this when I so obviously had another hand?” Mandala, by Circa Survive

Mandala @ Leftovers
108 HP/148 Atk/100 Sp.Atk/56 Sp.Def/96 Spe, Lonely
-Iron Head
-Fire Punch
-Thunder Wave
-Hidden Power Ice

An interesting, yet key member to this team, this rather unconventional Jirachi set fills several roles at once. With the given EVs, it is bulky enough to take hits, dish out some powerful Iron Heads that work brilliantly in tandem with the T-Wave hax, and can even outspeed and KO common Gliscor and Dragonite sets, neither of which ever expect an oncoming HP Ice. Because spreads like Sp.Def Wall Rachi, SubCM Rachi, and even ScarfRachi are more commonly seen today, this little guy becomes my secret weapon, scoring notable KOs on Pokemon that would otherwise win against it, which forces my opponent into a minor state of confusion, giving me an immediate upper hand. Paraflinch hax is as annoying and prominent as ever on this set, and it really helps me out in the long run against threats who rely on Speed to win their side of the battle. This is a very viable Jirachi set, and is recommended if you want to try something new. Courtesy of Faladran.

Now, let’s get to the Offense of the team.

Anyone Got a Broom???

Terra Force @ Choice Band
4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
-Quick Attack
-Stone Edge
-Close Combat

Perfect power, monstrous Speed, an overall intimidating glare. What do these three qualities have in common? They are all rocked hard by Choice Banded Terrakion. This set is amazing. Nearly everything in OU is taken down by at the very least two of these moves, meaning that if I can predict a Gliscor or Skarmory switch (as these are two, if not the two most common Physical Walls in OU), I can hit them with a Stone Edge or Close Combat, respectively, and ensure they lose their Wall on the next turn. After that, Terrakion is free to demolish the remainder of the opponent’s team, or I can send in Excadrill for an assured sweep. These two Offensive mons work great together, and I’ve had a few late game sweeps with just Terrakion alone. As if the brute force of its attacks weren’t enough glory to gloat over, its 108 Speed allows it to attack before a humongous chunk of the metagame, netting easy OHKOs on faster, frailer threats. Do not underestimate the Force.

“Bulldozer, run right over us” -Bulldozer, by Cold War Kids

This Pokemon is named after one of my favorite songs at the moment, as I found it fitting for what Excadrill is capable of in the OU scene. Because it is by far the best Sand Sweeper in the game, and even one of the best Weather Sweepers at that, I’ve found many opportunities with this guy to open up sweeps for my team. I’ve chosen an Adamant nature for maximum power before and after Swords Dance, and with an insane 550 Speed in a Sandstorm, Excadrill is easily capable of outspeeding just about anything it comes up against.

Strictly in regards to the set, I employed the use of Air Balloon so that I can switch in on opposing Excadrill that doesn’t hold a Balloon itself, or even a Haxorus locked into Earthquake (which has happened more time than you’d expect). Swords Dance is the icing on the cake of a Pokemon with massive Offensive potential, and Rock Slide and EQ are for great powerful coverage and STAB, respectively. In quite a bold play on my part, I have forgone the additional coverage of X-Scissor and even Brick Break for the ability to relinquish opposing hazards that may have been placed on my side of the field. This is very important since, although nothing on my team fears Stealth Rock, layers of Spikes and especially Toxic Spikes can really stack up against my monsters and wear them down before I can make an impact. Because Excadrill 4x resists Stealth Rock, is immune to Toxic Spikes, and evades Spikes due to Air Balloon, it is a nearly perfect Rapid Spinner, and therefore an extremely efficient member of this squad. In addition to that, its Offensive prowess only helps it as a Spinner; a boosted Rock Slide or STAB EQ is capable of demolishing OU’s most common Spin Blockers, Jellicent and Gengar.

There is no doubt that Excadrill fits very nicely into this team as a whole. I know he and Sand teams really go hand in hand, but that is because In the Desert is where he is at his best. I am aware there are probably several holes to be patched in this squadron of creatures, and so I hope you may be able to help me to perfect it. I also really hope that you can take something from this team, and even try it, or some of the Pokemon on it ,out yourself. All of these sets are extremely viable, and a lot of them will not be expected by your opponent. Just be sure to bring your Go-Goggles if you don’t want to try Sand out yourself.

Click HERE to see a replay of this team in action!

A couple key points about this battle:
1. I led with Slowbro because I figured it was the best thing to be paired up against Dugtrio. I figured he’d lead with Dugtrio because he’d want to trap and kill
one of my two Sand Streamers right away.
2. The disgustingly brutal combination of Excadrill and Terrakion works at its best here.
3. I did end up winning the match, though that part is not shown. I remember being anxious once I knew that he had Ninetails and Volcarona left, as two Stone
Edge hits in a row would win me the match, but a miss would cost me dearly.
Hope you enjoyed this post! Leave feedback, Please!


  1. Oh Sand teams. One of the reasons I grew less interested in OU was all the weather battles. Not that I don't like weather; I think it's great. I just think that there aren't enough different kinds of viable weather, nor enough viable anti-weather strategies. The whole thing seems even more repetitive than OU is supposed to be. But I mean, whatever floats your boat.

    Yeah, I've run bulky Hippo as well, also with great results. Nobody expects it to survive things nearly as well as it does. Superpower, though I've never seen it run on Hippo before, seems like a nice touch against things like Abomasnow.

    I looked over Tyranitar's EVs a bit and they look pretty good. The 128 SpA EVs is just enough to 2HKO Latios without SR damage, which looks like the best you could do if you still wanted to put some of that remaining investment into SpD.

    Jirachi needs only 56 SpA EVs to 2HKO offensive Multiscale Dragonite (assuming no Lefties recovery in the sand), although it lessens the chance to OHKO Gliscor after SR, but that was only maybe 50% originally anyway. I didn't see any other notable differences from 100 EVs there. So if you want you can move some of those EVs into attack or bulk. I'm not entirely sure what specifically 148 attack EVs are there for. I'm kind of curious.

    Liking the dual threats of Terrakion and Excadrill. I think it'd be pretty difficult to stand up to both of those, since most teams would be forced to waste their checks on one, leaving themselves open to a sweep by the other.

    I guess the main question, which I didn't really see addressed in you post, is: what tends to give you problems? When you lose, what tends to beat you? All in all, looks like a good team though.

  2. Thank you very much for your feedback! It really helps.

    About the Jirachi set, it was designed by someone named Faladran, so I basically just used it cuz it looked good. I'll take your suggestions into consideration though, they sound good :D

    And yeah, I'd say something that bothers me would be Rotom-W once T-tar's down and Gastrodon. Those two threats check a lot of mine, and even scare out Terrakion and Excadrill if I can't OHKO them.....otherwise I can deal with a lot of common things quite well.. Is there anything you can think of that might make quick work of this team?

  3. I checked out that Youtube link and that Faladran guy seems to know what he's doing. I'm willing to say he probably has a reason for those EVs that I just didn't see. But see what works and what doesn't.

    Out of the two threats you listed, I noticed two things. They both hate Toxic, and they both hate bulky Grass Pokemon. Unfortunately, your main Toxic user doesn't like Gastrodon's Toxic either, nor does he like Rotom's Electric STAB. At first I wondered about replacing him with Tentacruel to deal with Gastrodon using TSpikes, but that still leaves you completely open to Rotom. And Slowbro really does seem to patch up some holes on your team very well, so it'd be a real shame to lose him.

    Alternatively, you could replace Jirachi with a bulky Grass. Virizion has good synergy with Slowbro, resisting Dark, Electric and Grass while Slowbro resists Psychic, Ice and Fire. In some ways it might be nicer to run Ferrothorn just to worry less about being Toxic'd back, but I like Virizion better anyway. And it's not quite as standard. I would also consider Celebi for being effectively immune to status, but unfortunately, its shared Psychic type makes it a poor option.

    Speaking of Slowbro, how do you feel about dropping his speed IV and/or nature to get him under 85 speed? That way minimum speed Conkeldurr's Payback would still go first.

  4. Though actually, thinking about it, either Virizion or Ferrothorn make you a decent bit more Reuniclus-weak, so I'm not so sure anymore. Requires testing.

  5. Yes, you do bring up a lot of valuable points. Thank you for that.

    The problem with me is, now that I have this reasonably solid (though not yet perfect) team, I seem to not want to change out any of the members out. I might have to though, and like you said, I will require a bit more testing with this team.